23 May 2012, Wayland, Massachusetts. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) is pleased to announce that the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) has taken Principal level membership.
The UNGIWG addresses topics related to geospatial information sharing and quality of location information. The group is working across the United Nations to improve the efficient use of geographic information for better decision-making, to promote standards and norms for maps and other geospatial and location information and to provide a forum for discussing common issues and emerging technological changes.
The Consortium's Principal Members together with OGC Strategic Members constitute the OGC Planning Committee (PC). The PC is the final authority for approval of OGC standards as well as discussions related to market and business drivers impacting the standards development focus of the OGC. Principal members provide valuable expertise to support the forward-thinking market strategy of the consortium, they influence and maintain the Consortium's Policies and Procedures, and they approve nominations to the OGC Board of Directors.
“The UNGIWG's Principal Membership in the OGC reflects the importance to the UN of efficient and effective sharing of geospatial information among UN agencies,” said Mark Reichardt, President and CEO of the OGC.  “We look forward to their active involvement in our process, as they bring expertise, international experience and a tremendous breadth of requirements that will help shape and advance future OGC standards and best practices.”
Suha Ulgen, Co-chair of the UNGIWG, said, “It is no coincidence that UNGIWG's OGC membership is aligned with the launch of the Centre of Excellence for UN Spatial Data Infrastructure by UNGIWG. The Centre will boost the UN's capacity to leverage the power of geoinformatics in support of the its many mandates. As a Principal Member, UNGIWG is looking forward to contributing to the OGC in the standards setting process, as well as the promulgation of geospatial information management best practices.”
About the UNGIWG
The United Nations Geographical Information Working Group (UNGIWG, www.ungiwg.org) is a network of cartography and geographic information science professionals representing more than 30 United Nations Secretariat departments, specialized agencies, programmes and funds with mandates ranging from peacekeeping to humanitarian relief, from climate change to disaster reduction, response and recovery, from international law and human rights to environmental protection, poverty reduction, food security, water management and economic development.
UNGIWG was established in 2000 by acknowledgement of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP). 2011-2013 UNGIWG Co-chairs are the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria and the Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) of the UN Secretariat in New York, USA.
About the OGC
The OGC is an international consortium of more than 445 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.